With its 110-87 victory over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena, OKC was able to recover quickly from Monday night's 105-93 loss at San Antonio.
The Thunder entered Monday's game having won five straight and eight of its last nine.
Asked if the convincing loss at San Antonio wiped out all the good that had been accomplished entering that game, OKC coach Scott Brooks said: “I don't think it wipes out all the good, but definitely when you're a good team that has a lot of emotional guys that care, it does bother you. This group does not like to lose. That's why we've been one of the best at bouncing back.
“This team is prideful. That's what I love about coaching this group. They're not satisfied on having a good stretch and then coming up with a dud. They want to have a good stretch of games and keep playing good basketball.”
The Thunder is 14-3 this season in games after a loss. Wednesday's victory over the Jazz gave OKC the league's best bounce-back record over the last three seasons at 49-12 (.803), slipping past Chicago at 50-13 (.794).
OKC AT NO. 1
Despite the Miami Heat (49-14) winning 20 straight, the Denver Nuggets (44-22) winning 10 straight and the Memphis Grizzlies (44-19) winning six straight, the Thunder (48-17) remains atop John Hollinger's ESPN power rankings, and by a comfortable margin.
According to Hollinger, OKC is at No. 1 with a rating of 110.662 and is followed by Miami (108.319), San Antonio (107.969), the Los Angeles Clippers (106.734) and Denver (106.398).
Pushing the Thunder to the top are its overall strength of schedule, plus its average winning margin and the average winning percentage of opponents in the last 25 percent of its games.
OKC just completed a stretch of eight playoff teams in 10 games, which was extremely beneficial to its power ranking.
The Thunder is one of only three teams to have a winning percentage in the .700s, but OKC is just 1-4 against the other two teams — Miami (0-2) and San Antonio (1-2).
Here is the Thunder's record against teams with a current winning percentage in the .600s (7-3); in the .500s (14-7); in the .400s (5-0); in the .300s (19-3); and in the .200s (2-0).
NAME THAT QUOTE
An NBA coach shared how he plans to monitor the playoff race through the end of the season:
“We'll watch it as coaches. We don't want to inundate the guys,” the coach said. “Everybody's talking about it. They hear it all the time. We have to concentrate on who we are and what we have to do to continue to get better. We're going to put all our energy and focus on what we can control and that's how we play.”
Though it sounds exactly like Brooks talking, it actually was Utah coach Tyrone Corbin, who is battling for the No. 8 spot along with Houston, the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas, who are all within four games of each other.
At 7 p.m. Friday, the Thunder will face Orlando (18-47), which will be only the fourth sub-.500 team OKC has faced in its last 15 starts. … After Friday's game, the Thunder will play nine of its next 14 games on the road. … OKC is 13-2 on Fridays this season. … The Thunder is 21-1 and has won 20 straight against Western Conference opponents at Chesapeake Energy Arena this season, with the lone loss being against Memphis. OKC is just 8-3 against Eastern teams with losses to Atlanta, Brooklyn and Miami. … The Thunder is 4-4 all-time against Orlando and has beaten the Magic three straight times in OKC.
Utah Jazz guard Gordon Hayward on Wednesday night's loss to the Thunder: “We got embarrassed tonight. We're trying to get in the playoffs. We can't have games like this. We were down by 20-plus points and that's just stupid. We gotta execute our offense better. We got rattled and started second guessing ourselves.”